Yasmin Finney says Doctor Who scene triggered ‘PTSD’ for her as a trans person

Yasmin Finney talks the inspiration behind one key moment in new Doctor Who episode.

Doctor Who star Yasmin Finney has opened up about how her own difficult high school experience inspired one tragic scene in the 60th anniversary special.

The rising trans screen star appeared in the Doctor Who special “The Star Beast” on Saturday (25 November) as Donna Noble’s (Catherine Tate) daughter, Rose Noble. Much to LGBTQ+ fans delight (and bigots’ fury), the episode uplifted Rose’s identity as a trans teenager as she ultimately saved the world through the concept of gender fluidity.

During one scene, Rose and Donna are walking home when a group of schoolboys cycle past them, deadnaming Rose and mocking her identity.

Luckily, mum Donna calls out their disgusting behaviour and later delivers a heartwarming speech about fiercely defending Rose against any haters.

In the behind-the-scenes episode, Doctor Who: Unleashed, Finney shared how her own experiences shaped Rose’s portrayal in “The Star Beast”, and that particular scene.

“It did bring back some PTSD for me,” she said about filming. “I think, sadly my high school experience was a lot of bullying and a lot of defending myself and having to put on a brave face when I entered the school doors.

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“It didn’t go too much into [Rose’s] bullying, it just grazed it a little bit and it added a little bit of reality into Rose’s life and what it’s like to be a trans person. I think we did it beautifully and it wasn’t too much. But it showed she’s still struggling… she still gets deadnamed.”

Writer Russell T Davies, who has returned to Doctor Who after rebooting the series in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston and Rose Tyler, added that he hoped any boys who behave like that in real life would learn from the scene.

“Those boys on bikes are watching Doctor Who. I hope they watch it and think ‘oh, maybe I shouldn’t do that, maybe that’s wrong’,” he said.

Hopefully this is not the last we will see of Finney’s Rose, as both Finney and Davies have hinted she will share scenes with the upcoming 15th Doctor, Ncuti Gatwa.

Doctor Who returns on Saturday, 2 December with “Wild Blue Yonder” on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. It will stream globally on Disney+.

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